Who We Are
Robert Encila is a life-long student of the performing arts. He started singing at age five, played guitar in a rock band at sixteen, and left school at seventeen to tour his native Philippines as a dancer. He immigrated to the United States at age nineteen, subsequently receiving a full scholarship to study music and theatre at the University of Arizona.
Robert has been active in the local circuit, appearing in recent productions with Borderlands Theater and Arizona Theatre Company. He taught for fifteen years at the secondary and college levels and has directed close to seventy productions in twenty years. He is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association.
Robert’s national credits include musical performances in Las Vegas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and most recently at the historic Players’ Club and Birdland Jazz Club in New York City. His second album of original songs, Second Wind, is available on i-Tunes and www.cdbaby.com. Robert is the current theatre and choir director of St. Francis in the Foothills. He lives happily ever after with wife Ginny and boasts of three exceptional daughters: Alexandra, Catherine, and Maya.
As a teacher, I have the unique privilege to observe many children at play. I’m also a recent witness to the developmental stages of my youngest daughter, whose unabashed spontaneity, even in middle school, is a clear signal of creativity in action. Children are known for their universal facility to make believe, giving them heightened focus and well-being. Play is essential to creativity and a fundamental premise for meaningful learning.
When it comes to acting before an audience, it seems most adults require permission to risk the proverbial comfort zone. I contend that as social creatures we are vastly skilled actors. But we seem to refine our repertoire in the shadow, often unaware of the motives that drive our actions. Ironically enough, the very effort to suppress risk-taking suggests a highly sophisticated acting strategy. We’ve become quite good in a world Shakespeare calls the Stage.
While children act blissfully in the light as a function of play, adults tend to act wisely in order to preserve and survive. This beautiful paradox we call acting is the emphasis of my work as a teacher. It provides the catharsis that sheds light on the inquisitive soul.
The study of drama and theatre provides a constructive tool for examining our performance with or without an official audience. In this community of creative participants, we address the collective issue of what makes people tick. We accept our space as a sacred container for investigating our choices, risking transparency and feedback. In other words, we employ the consistent practice of evaluating subtext, inspiring honesty so we might empathize more fully with those who share our world. Language may change, but we’re all learning the same values.
Art Director, Co-Artistic Director
Ginny Encila is a high-honors graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a BFA in Art Education. She is the former art specialist at Esperero Canyon Middle School and has thirty years of teaching experience, including seven years with the Summer Fine Arts Program. Ginny’s teaching has garnered numerous awards, including Southern Arizona Middle Level Teacher of the Year (1997), Virginia Elementary Art Teacher of the Year and Northern Virginia Regional Art Teacher of the Year (1994). In 2004, she received a joint award from the Arizona Administrator’s Association and the Arizona Alliance for Arts Education. Her work has been featured on National Teacher Television and on the Arlington Virginia Television, Fine Arts Series. Ginny is a six-time cooperating teacher for the University of Arizona and a former member of the Arizona State Department of Education Teacher Proficiency Assessment Committee.
Art and the artistic process represent a vital part of intelligence. Art is a universal aspect of humanity even where no language exists to define it. Though the basic elements of line, space, shape, color, texture, value, and form continue to be organized by the principles of contrast, emphasis, balance, unity, pattern, rhythm, and movement, these can be used in ever changing variety.
Studio Connections is dedicated to providing an excellent varied visual art education, based on individual student need and interest. The elements and principles of art are tools to give full voice to the artist’s unique vision. Artists who have created before us provide insight and inspiration for the learning process. Students of all ages have their own story. The Studio provides a place for artists to create and learn to make their intentions heard.
- The studio will be an emotionally and physically safe, organized place where students can have FUN!
- Students will acquire new skills and knowledge through clear, sequential lessons that will connect previously learned skills to new ones.
- Students will have opportunities to extend and refine knowledge through enjoyable comparing, classifying, abstracting, and analyzing processes.
- Students will engage in meaningful artistic processes with many opportunities for individual decision-making, problem solving, experimentation, and invention.
- Students will continue to develop the life-long good habits of critical thinking, creative thinking, and self-regulated thinking.
Theatre Arts Instructor
Samantha earned her BFA in Theatre from the University of Arizona. She has performed in, choreographed, designed and directed over 40 productions. She is an instructor for Youth Theatre at Studio Connections and Live Theatre Workshop. She was the resident choreographer for Redondo Music Theatre. Favorite shows directed include You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Once On This Island, A Year With Frog and Toad, and Godspell,Jr.